I wanted to be the very first to welcome you to the holiday season! I’m one of those obnoxious people who overly-revels in this time of year. I love the Christmas stuff in stores months ahead of time, I play the music way too early, and you better believe the new tree I ordered is going up soon.
Aaaand, as a mental health therapist, introvert, and general self-proclaimed protector of human energy, I also wanted to remind you of this. Embracing the holidays does NOT mean you have to be busy, overwhelmed, or constantly checking the to-do list. You can just be a normal, non-high achieving individual and enjoy the holidays just the same.
There are seasons in life (not just holiday seasons, but stage-of-life seasons) where we seem to think we are supposed to be on hyper-speed when it comes to planning, achieving, checking things off the list, etc. For perfectionists and those who receive validation from “gettin’ stuff done” this fuels all those endorphin-rewarded neurons in our brain as we pat ourselves on the back for putting in yet another overly-packed day of tasks and accomplishments.
My fellow humans, this is not sustainable. Nor is it how we are designed. Let’s consider a few reasons why we may want to take a different approach to the upcoming holiday season:
- Recovering from the Pandemic: The pandemic has been a wearying experience. The fact that we can safely do more this season makes it tempting to do all the things. Kinda’ like a holiday binge but with togetherness, activities, and forcing all the nostalgia and traditions back in place. This may be a bit much to take on all at once as we continue to recover from this weird time in history. Consider your choices carefully.
- Challenging the Stuff that Validates Us: Achievement can be very intoxicating. Many of us are conditioned to equate our value with what we accomplished that day. The holidays are such an opportune time to reflect on the Truth of what actually makes us valuable, but the busyness of the season often pushes us out of that space. It might be really incredible to see what a holiday is like when we don’t do all the things.
- Missing People as We Chase Productivity: This may be the most important. We are forever trying to be Mary in a Martha world, but it’s hard. We have missed countless moments with people because we were cleaning our houses, preparing the food, trying to get organized, or orchestrating a “moment.” I am so, so guilty of this. Just because things have to get done doesn’t mean they have to get done perfectly. An uncoordinated, unpolished holiday season may be just what fills your heart.
So, there it is. Just ahead, the holiday season of 2021. This is the moment where we see if all those important lessons we learned during the pandemic will stick with us or if we will be drawn back into the hustle. I’m hoping if we make plans now, we can settle into being average people who do average stuff in average ways and, in doing so, enjoy a miraculously beautiful, restful, soul-filling holiday season.